Google Chrome is making huge gains in the web browser space. It has done wonders to catch up to all of the competition and, in some ways, has surpassed the competition. The only problem for Linux users is that Chrome has lagged behind a bit. That doesn't mean Linux users can not get their Chrome on in Linux. If you have yet to install Chrome in Linux you can see how to in my article "Install Google Chrome on Linux (and why you should)".
Upon conclusion of that article you will have a very basic installation of Chrome that will browse quite well and fast.
The problem is, however, you won't have flash working, nor will you know how to add themes to your installation. Although themes are not crucial to using Chrome, flash is. Without getting flash working, you won't be able to do things like view YouTube videos.
Update: Flash is still an important technology on the web but things have moved away from plugins on the web towards HTML5 which means that you don't need Flash installed to watch videos on popular sites.
By the end of this article you will be running Google Chrome with flash support enabled and using the available themes.
Before you begin
The first housekeeping task you need to do is make sure you have flash working for Firefox. Most likely you already do. To figure this out open up Firefox and enter "about:plugins" (no quotes) in the address bar and hit enter. When this page appears you should see Shockwave Flash listed somewhere on the page. If you do, Flash is working fine and you are ready to go.
If not you will need to get flash installed. If you are using Ubuntu 9.04 this is simple: Navigate Firefox to a page that requires Flash. When the toolbar popup appears informing you a missing plugin needs to be installed go ahead with that installation. Make sure, however, you install the "official" Flash plugin - not either of the open source versions. After this is installed restart Firefox and check the "about:plugins" page again. Is it there? Good. You're ready to move on to Google Chrome.
The first step is to make sure you have the most recent build of Chrome. As of this writing the most recent built is 18.104.22.168. You can find that out by clicking on the Settings dropdown and selecting "About Google Chrome". Once you know you have the latest build you are ready to go.
Adding Flash support
The first thing you need to do is locate the file libflashplayer.so. To do this issue the command:
The results of that command should look similar to:
The file you will want to work with is in:
But before you do anything you need to create a plugins directory for Chrome. To do this issue the command:
sudo mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins
Now you need to copy the libflashplayer.so file to the newly created plugins directory with the following command:
cp /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox/plugins/libflashplayer.so /opt/google/chrome/plugins/
The final step is to run Google Chrome with plugins enabled. To do that you start Google Chrome with the following command:
Now if you enter "about:plugins" (no quotes) in the address bar of Google Chrome, you will see an entry for Shockwave Flash listed.
You might want to change all of your Google Chrome launchers to reflect this command change.
Themes are simple. All you have to do is navigate to the Google Themes Gallery, select the theme you like, and click the Apply Theme button underneath the theme. After the file has downloaded the theme will change automatically. The only issue I have found with Google Themes on Linux is the Transparent theme will not work properly.
I will warn you that the Flash plugin will crash a lot. Fortunately, the way Chrome works is that Flash crashing will not bring the browser down. But so far, Google Chrome has failed to disappoint on any level.